December 7, 2019
WeWork, a highly touted 2019 unicorn, was supposed to have gone public by now, It hasn't. Instead, it withdrew its IPO, restated its financials, fired its CEO, and plans to lay off thousands of employees. WeWork seems to have had a business plan based upon the wisdom that if you build it, they will come. WeWork sort of built it. They didn't come.
Talk to enough stockbrokers, advisors -- even lawyers -- and you'll learn that there is an unease about taking on a so-called complaining client. If you're going to take on a customer who's sitting in your office fuming about the low-life piece of crap that screwed everything up, just keep in mind that there but for the grace of god goes I. That's not to diminish the rectitude of any client's complaint about the misconduct of any professional, but it does underscore the sense that some folks may be impossible to please. That being said, business is business, and, hey, maybe the former broker, advisor, or lawyer was a moron. In today's featured FINRA expungement arbitration, we consider the plight of a Merrill Lynch broker who opened an account for a customer who dumped her prior advisor after 20 years. Maybe the new advisor could do better? Then again, this is about an expungement!
GROWING SCANDAL ALERT!!! as detected by the oenophiles and turophiles at the prestigious Securities Industry Commentator feed and the BrokeAndBroker.com blog. As a tit-for-tat tax war seems looming between the United States and France, the diligent journalists at CNBC have uncovered a very, very troubling subterfuge. In response to France's new digital-service tax, which targets U.S. technology companies, among which are Alphabet/Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.com, the Trump administration has threatened to impose up to 100% duties on $2.4 billion of French imports. Frankly, it seems a fair response to a thinly-disguised tax that largely targets U.S. businesses.
A customer complains. The stockbroker prepares to defend his besmirched reputation. The brokerage firm does a cost-benefits analysis and pursuant to its "business judgment," writes a check and settles the complaint. The stockbroker never admitted guilt and never contributed to the settlement -- and, in the end, was denied a day in court. Years later, in response to the stockbroker's request for expungement of the customer complaint, a FINRA public arbitrator sees the issue before him as involving an innocent stockbroker left suspended in mid-air with no remedy to refute settled customer allegations against him.